How Internal Communications Can Improve Your 2021 Bottom Line
It’s an inescapable fact that, as we move into a new decade, the shape of the workplace is changing. We’re swapping desks and boardrooms for home offices and chat rooms on Zoom.
But no matter where your workforce lives, internal communications can make – or break – your company. By and large, employees who feel like they can have their say will work harder and stay more loyal than those who feel unheard.
And it's very easy to see how a more effective workforce translates to more sales, more profit, and a better bottom line.
So, with that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the most important things to consider when thinking about internal communications, and how these can help to improve your bottom line.
1) Treat them like they’re as important as external communications
We all know that how we talk to our customers and clients is important – after all, good customer service can ensure that your clients keep coming back for more.
However, making sure you’re talking to your employees is just as important. No matter your industry, having staff who are informed and in the loop will only benefit your workflow. And when your workflow is healthy, your bottom line will improve quickly.
A company selling workplace collaboration tools still needs to keep its customers in the loop. But prioritizing external communication over internal communication will lead to an unheard and seething workforce.
That being said, there are some tips and tricks that you should definitely keep to the external communication side of things! However much call tracking helps your sales, for instance, it probably shouldn’t be utilized against your employees!
2) Make sure everyone knows the correct information
As an employee, there’s nothing worse than feeling like your line managers all know something you don’t. We’re not talking about specifically managerial information – after all, that’s what managers are for. (That, and someone to take that last parking space in the company car park!).
But when there’s a large announcement about the newly-updated RPA, and somehow the people who do the grunt work don’t know about it, that can breed a lot of resentment.
This is especially important when it comes to forward-facing roles. Employees who deal with customers on a day-to-day basis will be left feeling frustrated, helpless, and ultimately unheard if they don’t have the information they need to help those customers.
Whether that’s a sales-centric role, or customer service, or even B2C advertising. The more of the picture you can share with your staff via a robust internal communications system, the better equipped they will feel.
Managing information is beneficial to all industries, but to some, it’s practically crucial. As a CEO, if your employees aren’t equipped to answer questions and do their job properly, then your bottom line will most certainly suffer.
Inversely, if your internal communications team is on the ball and your staff know the relevant information, then they’ll be able to handle whatever gets thrown at them – and your bottom line will reflect that.
3) Give all your employees a voice
Communication is a two-way street, and that is just as true when it comes to internal comms. Let’s use our agile collaboration tools company as an example. Perhaps they have sent out their all-staffer bulletins and then sat back, thinking they’ve done well.
But if there are no processes for the staff to reply, report, and give their thoughts, then that is not really communication – that is a lecture.
Having an online portal, or some other equivalent of the Feedback Box, will let your employees know that it's not just their work you want but their thoughts too.
What can often happen with online portals and such is that the higher up the ladder your staff have climbed, the louder their voices become. However, each employee at your company should have their own unique digital identity, and along with that, the opportunity to involve themselves and engage with the news and feedback contained within your online portal.
Communication is a two-way street, and internal comms is no exception.
4) Adapt to changing times
Perhaps the most pertinent tip in the current working climate (and certainly the longest, so strap in) is to make sure your internal communication is in great shape.
This can be tough, especially when your employees are transitioning to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, when your workforce is spread across a city – or even across a country or continent – it’s important to keep them feeling like a team via frequent internal comms updates.
That includes hearing them as well as speaking to them. Your internal communications team has their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping the workforce informed. Not only because the dispersal of staff makes it harder, but because the task of keeping everyone informed about current pandemic laws and rules falls to them. Whether you’re an established company or just starting out, it’s important to keep everyone in the know.
In an age when information comes at us 24/7, having an internal communication team that can cut through the noise and give your staff a clear idea of what’s going will not only keep people safe from COVID-19 but also keep your bottom line up during a time of uncertainty.
Sometimes the very structure of your company has to change due to the pandemic, and the increasing number of contingent workers has shown that businesses are re-adjusting to fit the times. Nonetheless, whether your workers are there for a week or a year, they’ll perform better when they feel heard and spoken to.
Of course, there are a lot of challenges when it comes to remote work, not just with internal communications. It can be hard to send out that video-embedded bulletin when not everyone has great network connectivity. And online file storage becomes a challenge.
But as with your business in general, these challenges are made much easier when your workforce feels like you’re listening to their feedback. And with new processes and practices getting put into place in a remote landscape, that feedback can be incredibly useful in helping your company to stay profitable.
Of course, there are silver linings when it comes to a larger remote workforce than we’ve seen in the past – it means your general and administrative costs will be lower, as rent, bills, equipment, and so on all get reduced.
When it comes to reducing your G&A costs there are ways that your internal communications can get involved there too.
When it comes to remote working, internal comms have their work cut out for them.
5) Follow up and feedback
Let’s say you’ve listened to the feedback from your staff. You’ve implemented that new system they requested and it’s working well. Your profits are up, the workforce seems contented. A great time to rest upon your laurels, yes?
While it’s totally okay to give yourself a pat on the back for the implementation, calling attention to the members of staff who first suggested it will mean they’ll get a boost of confidence, and it will instill loyalty in them as well.
If your internal communication is robust, the two-way street you’ve created will allow them to feel like they’re positively impacting the company and will help you to have an informed and motivated workforce.
Again, that can be difficult when dealing with largely remote staff. Thankfully, however, there are some great tools to help – for example, if you’re looking for an alternative to Zoom.
Having a good internal communications system is a constant process, but you’ll very quickly realize how much it can help you as your staff go that extra mile to improve your bottom line and the overall running of your business.
6) Don’t neglect middle management
Most of the subject matter of this article so far has been aimed at maintaining effective internal communications with your workforce. But studies show that nearly half of all middle managers say that internal communication is lacking in their workplace.
With pressure from above to deliver results, and from below to keep staff happy, it’s no surprise that middle management responds well to effective internal communication that can help support them in their role.
Making sure your middle management is supported is a powerful tool in improving your bottom line, given that they’re usually much more personally interested in their staff. No disrespect to the higher-ups, but in a company with over 100 employees, it can be hard to keep track of them all.
Whereas a middle manager usually feels a level of protectiveness and investment in their team. This investment can work in your favor when it comes to internal communications, allowing your comms team to call on the help of line managers and middle management to disperse and disseminate information and feedback.
Use your line managers effectively to improve your internal communication strategies. Image Source.
With these six great tips and tricks to consider, it’s easy to see how having a robust internal communications team can help your business to thrive. With employees who are happy that they are being heard and listened to, and are kept in the loop with everything that’s going on in the company, you’ll soon see an increase in profit and an improvement in your bottom line.
Elea Andrea Almazora is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and audio conferencing services. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.